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'Amazing' Senior Debut Rouses South Africa's Rooskrantz
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First-year senior Caitlin Rooskrantz of South Africa told IG that placing fifth on uneven bars at last month's Challenge Cup of Koper, Slovenia, exceeded her expectations and gave her satisfaction.

First-year senior Caitlin Rooskrantz (South Africa)

"My goal was to at least to qualify in eighth place on bars," she said. "I was very pleased with my performance and the fact that I qualified in sixth position, which was better than I aimed for. Placing fifth in finals was an amazing achievement for me and I am very proud of myself, as this was my first-ever senior competition."

Rooskrantz's next international competitive targets include making the uneven bars final and "possibly try" to win a medal at the Challenge Cup of Szombathely, Hungary, in September; and qualifying for the World Championships in Montreal in October.

"I'm hoping to win the South African nationals as I believe I am capable," she added.

Rooskrantz, who placed second all-around at last fall's Junior Commonwealth Championships in Namibia, began training at age 7.

"I've always been a very agile and active child, and friends of my parents recommended enrolling me into gymnastics," she said. "I loved it and have never looked back."

To continue making international strides, Rooskrantz wants to better her form.

"My main focus is to tidy up all my elements so I can score higher marks in my execution," said Rooskrantz, who trains under coaches Ilse Pelser and Glen Hlongwane at Johannesburg Gymnastics Centre in Newlands, Johannesburg. "My difficulty is already up to standard for where I want it to be right now, but I can improve my execution score by quite a lot still."

No South African female artistic gymnast has competed at the Olympics Games since 2004, but the optimistic Rooskrantz said persistence and steadiness could help her earn advance to the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

"I think it will take a whole lot of hard work, dedication, commitment and consistency," she told IG. "I feel that I am fairly up to standard when it comes to my difficulty, at least for now, but my execution needs some more work. Since the Olympics has always been a very important goal, I will have to give it my all in the next three years to make it to Tokyo and end the 16-year drought."

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